Friday, April 11, 2008

Food and mouth disease research near CAFOs

Our genius government is making moves to relocate an animal disease research facility from its current home on an isolated island (i.e. not near livestock) to the mainland (i.e. near livestock). Even more exciting for us North Carolinians, Butner is among the places being considered.

Apparently, they were not deterred by a government simulation, "Crimson Sky," that ended in riots when a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak necessitated the killing of tens of millions of farm animals.

There's so much wrong with this scenario... but to me, it all boils down to yet one more reason to be very thoughtful about the food I eat. Would a family farm in Butner be any less likely to have to kill their entire heard should viruses sneak out of the lab? Of course not - those animals would have to be destroyed too. But we're talking about the difference between a small, isolated herd and the thousands of animals that are crammed together in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operation); there, unsanitary, crowded conditions allow disease to roll through the population before the first cow to be infected notices the sniffles. This is why conventional meat is pumped with antibiotics, folks. Outbreaks in CAFOs would cripple our food systems enough to lead to the aforementioned riots.

As a side note, when I was in 5th grade, there was talk about building a nuclear power plant in North Carolina. My teacher, Mark Moore, read us Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, a book in which a Japanese girl attempts to harness the good luck of a thousand origami cranes before the leftover radiation from Hiroshima kills her. Our class made cranes and Mr. Moore mailed them and a copy of the book to the powers that be in protest.

Anyone up for some folding?

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